Yellow jackets are some of the most aggressive flying pests to deal with. Some people mistakenly call these insects’ bees or wasps, but they are far different in size and color.
Yellow jackets are also different from wasps and bees because they have small barb-like stingers they use to repeatedly sting an animal or human when trying to defend themselves or their territory.
The best way to prevent being stung is to avoid these yellow and black stripped insect’s nesting area, and by not swatting at them if the aggressive bugs do decide to fly at you. If you want to avoid having to deal with them building a nest around your home or business building it is best to keep all wooden fixtures outside of the home from decaying since these insects love chewing dead wood.
What Do Yellow Jackets Eat?
Knowing what yellow jackets eat is essential for knowing where they are going to build their nests. You already know that yellow jackets love building their nest in the old decaying wood matter, but because these insects all love dining on other insects and fruits its important to keep an eye out for yellow jackets building nests around gardens or wherever there is a high moth, fly, or beetle population.
Yellow jackets love building nests in dying trees, shrubs, mouse burrows, and in sandy dry ground or grass as well. You can avoid having these insects build nests within sandy ground or grass areas by keeping the ground watered generously.
How Big do Yellow Jacket Nests Become?
Yellow jacket nests will keep on growing to just about any size as long as it is not disturbed in any way. This is because yellow jackets—much like bees, wasps, termites, and ants—live in colonies. Each colony consists of fertilized queens, workers, and drones, which are male yellow jackets.
On average, a yellow jacket nest can contain up to 5,000 workers with over 15,000 cells within a nest for more new queens to live and hibernate. When spring arrives, the new queens will reproduce and lay more eggs. This is what keeps the colony thriving and growing.
The best time to take down a yellow jacket nest with a colony of any size is in the late autumn or winter when temperatures are below 40 degrees and most of the yellow jackets that lived within the nest have died off because of the colder temperatures.
If you live in warmer climates, it is best to have a professional remove the nest instead since yellow jacket stings can become deadly if a person has allergies to yellow jacket stings.
What are some of the other ways to get rid of yellow jackets?
If the yellow jackets nest is small in size there are many ways you can get rid of it and the insects such as spraying the nest with a pesticide that contains pyrethrum and aerosol, which kills the yellow jackets instantly and does wonders for high-up nests on houses, work buildings, and within trees.
Other pesticide products that are useful for grounds nest, in particular, are insecticide dust, which you can get at any home improvement store, hardware shop, or gardening center. However, you should never try using a pesticide on a nest during the day when the yellow jackets are most active. Instead, it is best to tackle this job in the evenings when it is cool and dry outside. Other methods found useful for keeping yellow jackets away and getting rid of them for good are:
- Yellow jacket bait stations.
- Yellow jacket traps.
- Keeping trash cans clean and free from sweet stinky stuff.
- Covering a grounds nest with sea salt and flooding the area with water from a garden hose.
- Pouring boiling water to kill a ground or shrub nest.
- Peppermint Castile soap poured over or onto a nest.
- Planting mint herbs around a home and yard prevents yellow jackets from building a nest.
- Bat houses around a home reduces yellow jackets since bats eat insects.
- Adding birdhouses keeps yellow jackets away since birds eat insects.
- Installing a sprinkler system in your yard keeps the ground moist and prevents yellow jackets from building nests.
Keep This in Mind When Exterminating Yellow Jackets
Remember, when trying to get rid of yellow jackets it is best to keep the things they love eating away from the area you are trying to keep free of them. Never attempt to destroy a yellow jacket nest full of these stinging insects during the day because their stings are painful, can causes injury and sometimes-even death in individuals with an allergic reaction to stings.
If a nest is, too large it is wise to call a professional exterminator to handle the situation for you probably so injury does not occur. Otherwise, be safe and try the methods above and you should be on your way to a yellow jacket free situation shortly.
Further Resources for Getting Rid of Yellow Jackets
- Tips for Managing Yellow Jackets – Maine.gov